road trip to Austin, Tx.

When we were first married more than 2 years ago, Hoyoung and I talked about traveling at least 3 times a year. It didn't matter whether we took a short road trip or went overseas - we just knew that we wanted to explore new places together. Unfortunately, the troubles of our lives got in the way and we put traveling on the back burner just like we had pushed our marriage aside.

Last August, after we had been married a year and a half, we took our first real trip (not counting our honeymoon) to Austin. We had been going through so many changes that first year and a half of marriage, we thought we didn't have the luxury of time or money to go anywhere. And we only went to Austin because I had an interview for an internship.

We probably went on the hottest and most humid weekend of the summer. But it was the most refreshing trip and much needed for our marriage.

Obligatory McDonald's stop on our way to Austin...

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and selfie...

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and a touristy stop to the State Capitol started off our weekend. 

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We actually went twice - once in the afternoon and on our second night there.  The Capitol is gorgeous lit against the dark sky.

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We didn't do anything fancy or exciting while we were in Austin. Mostly we ate, walked a lot, slept, ate, and... ate!

Side note: Out of everything we ate, from the delicious noodles at Ramen Tatsu-Ya to a homemade pop tart at Houndstooth, our favorite was the humble pepperoni pizza at Home Slice on SoCo.

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Post Austin, we realized that traveling is never going be a waste of time or money for us. There is so much value in getting away from work and home, most importantly, together. Dallas is so good to us and we love it here for many reasons, but we also know that it's so easy to be sucked into the DFW bubble and become consumed by our own busy-ness. This trip not only rekindled our wanderlust, but it was also one of many first lessons that taught us to slow down, to enjoy our lives and each other. 

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All photos were taken with a Fuji x100s camera.

working marriage.

Our marriage and SOHOSTORY have no clear separation.  We are a husband-wife team just starting out and anyone who owns a small business can tell you that the first couple of years are the hardest and longest hours you will ever work. Marriage is hard enough but working with your spouse is even harder! This definitely rang true for us the past 6 weeks, which is one of the big reasons why we have not updated this blog in a while.

We have heard advice, horror stories, and the “don’t do it lecture” from married couples before and we are finding that some were right and some were wrong.  I’ve personally learned that every couple and situations are different and doing things our way is not the wrong way. Here are some ways we've learned to do marriage well while (despite) owning a business together.

DISCLAIMER: I am in no way claiming myself to be an expert on marriage - I've only been married 2 years; I just know that this is what works for us right now.

Be ok with marriage and business being intertwined. 

I have a really hard time with this for a couple of reasons: 1. We don’t have normal business hours. 2. I’ve read many articles that say to have clear hours and to set aside time when you don’t talk about business at all. That’s difficult for us at this stage in our business.  And 3. We're together a lot so the line between "spouse" and "business partner" is very blurry.  

I've come to realize that it's really all about priorities, priorities, priorities.  We may not have clear cut hours and we may talk about work a lot, but this is for sure: God is first no matter what, marriage comes next, then family, and last is business.

Communicate. 

You would think that being together all the time would make communication easier but it definitely does not. I always fall into the trap of, "We've been together all day. I don't need to tell my husband how I'm feeling - he should know."  Actually, maybe that's a trap I lay for my husband that he falls into... Whichever it is, one thing's for sure: COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANT.

Here are some great tips to keep an open line of communication on one of our favorite blogs, Today's Letters

Set aside “me” time.  

Hoyoung and I are terrible at this. Some weeks, we are literally together 24/7, maybe spending a total of 3 hours apart every ten days.  We need to spend more time apart from each other so we try to schedule days to purposely spend away from each other.  For us, this can get difficult sometimes because we also share one car between the two of us.

I know what you're thinking, I know it sounds crazy, but having one car actually gives us more freedom. There is such freedom in owning less, not being weighed down by your things. And although it can get annoying, it's been very doable for us to schedule time apart from each other because we are aware of each other's schedules via our shared Google calendar.  Sharing a cloud-based calendar with your spouse is also another excellent add on to communication.

Date each other.  

I know this sounds terribly cliche, dating your spouse, but we have learned that it really is important.  Hoyoung and I are also pretty bad at this.  Date nights sometimes start off with dinner but then we end it with grocery shopping or running errands.  We don’t think there’s anything wrong with that - we both enjoy doing that together. Really, it’s about enjoying each other no matter what you’re doing.  

Something we've found really refreshing for us is to get out of town for just one night. We recently took a weekend trip down to Waco and College Station and had a great time - it was simple, we packed light, did not have a busy itinerary, and we got to enjoy each other's company.

And, of course, we took some photos with our iPhones along the way in the cloudy weather in Waco, TX ...

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...and back home, taking photos on the side of the OSR, in the rain.

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Don't do it alone.

Having community around you is so important.  Isolation just leads to trouble. We intentionally surround ourselves people that spur us on, encourage us, keep us accountable, and we return the favor.

We were so grateful to be able to spend some time with the Dave and Kelley Laws when we were in College Station. They are such a wonderful, warm, sweet couple and I am so excited to call them friends! They took some great photos of us. These are a couple of my favorite.

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And Hoyoung took a couple of them. 

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Check out this lovely couple and their work at pineandpearl.com!

Marriage is tough and sometimes it seems like there are more bad days than there are good. It's messy but it's beautiful and I love it.

5 ways to show love beyond Valentine's Day.

Many are surprised when we tell people that we don't celebrate Valentine's Day.  When they react with such shock on their faces, I can't help but apologetically say, "Our wedding anniversary is February 18th so no use celebrating twice!"  But the truth is we never celebrated it when we were dating either.  

Plus, my favorite part about Valentine's is the day after, when all the chocolates are on sale...

Showing others we love them doesn't need to be limited to this one day.  
Here are 5 ways to show love on those around you regularly, not just on a designated holiday.

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1. DISCONNECT. BE INTENTIONAL. 

It's so easy to be distracted by our phones buzzing away with new likes on our latest Instagram post or a tweet from your favorite celeb. Hoyoung and I are so guilty of checking our phones immediately when our phone lights up with a new email notification - it's hard to disconnect when you run your own business. But in the grand scheme of things, when there is a real person in front of you, how can anything else be more important? Show someone you care by disconnecting from your phone while you spend quality hang out time, have a conversation over coffee, enjoy a movie, anything you can do together! 

2. COOK A MEAL. 

I don't think there is anything better than a home-cooked meal to say, "I care."  Whether you are a good or bad cook, the time and thought put into cooking something that will nourish the body is such a wonderful gesture of love. Or cooking together is fun, too! 

Baking with our nieces has really been fun and memorable. Pouring things into a bowl and mixing up the ingredients are so exciting for them and, of course, they love the sweet treat afterwards. It's such a small thing to Hoyoung and I but a big affair for them at the ages of 2 and 5. I know that quality time with them like this while their young will help our relationship with them deepen as they grow up. 

3. SERVE EACH OTHER. 

There's this idea floating around in my head from when I was a little girl. My parents would indirectly tell me, "When you graduate from college and are a grown up, make money and do what makes you happy."  Growing up as a 0.5 generation American, I understand my parents' wish for me to be successful financially and happy.  I don't think this idea is wrong, either, as they mean it with the best of intentions. I'm not yet a parent but I know that all loving parents want their child to be happy as mine want me to be. However, the older I get, it's become painfully obvious that this idea is so selfish. Making money and doing whatever I please has made me happy for maybe a moment, but it doesn't bring lasting joy.  Service to others, putting ourselves last, has given us great joy that is never momentary. Friendships in which we serve each other have been such blessing in our lives.

4. A HANDWRITTEN NOTE.

I personally love handwritten notes because they're such a quick way to send love, already personalized because it's in your handwriting! It could be as simple as leaving a sticky note with a short message.

I especially appreciate handwritten notes when they're from Hoyoung. He would much rather type an email to me because it's faster, easier, and he's all about efficiency. When he hand writes me a letter or note, I know he really took the time to care for me in this small way. 

My favorite handwritten gift was a journal given to me by Hoyoung a couple of days after we were married. He had started journaling from planning out his proposal, throughout our engagement, and his last entry was on the day after our wedding. It was such a sweet surprise and it would be what I would save from our place if it ever caught on fire. 

5. JUST SAY IT. 

If you have ever been to the great city of Austin, you've probably seen this wall before.

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People line up on the corner of this street to take photos in front of it! It's not the prettiest handwriting nor is the lime green color of the wall all that complimentary to skin tones. So why? 

Because simple words sometimes make the biggest impact.  
Don't be afraid to just tell your loved ones, "I love you so much!" 

 How do you show loved ones you care?